The ENC began in autumn of 1997 during a leadership conference in London sponsored by RELaY network. Many of the 250+ participants were part of charismatic communities and these leaders expressed the desire to meet together during one conference and to share about their experiences as community members / leaders. As one after the other shared about their battles with isolation, lack of direction and the need for support, a decision was made to meet again a year later in the town of Novy Hrady in the Czech Republic. It was here, in an old monastery near the Austrian border that the leaders of these communities decided to continue working together. The working title of this fledgling network was the “European Network of Communities.”
ENC consists of communities which are either Ecumenical or church-specific communities. These communities are so called “Communities of the Third Way”: These are neither churches, nor religious orders, but rather a “third” way of putting into practice the biblical ideal of a Christian community. They try, like numerous communities before them, to follow the example of the “first century church of Jerusalem” (cf. Acts 2 and 4). These groups live by a common set of values but at the same time vary widely in their emphases, structures and goals.